Nativity Scene
A newborn baby boy was found abandoned at a Nativity scene at a church in Queens, New York. LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images

A newborn baby boy, with his umbilical cord still attached, was discovered abandoned in a Nativity scene at a New York City area church by a custodian on 23 November. Holy Child Jesus Church custodian Jose Moran found the baby wrapped in towels in the church's Nativity scene after hearing the baby cry.

Moran reportedly heard the baby, but dismissed the crying because people come in and out of the church all the time, parish secretary Paul Cerni told CNN. However, as Moran got closer to the Nativity scene, he saw the abandoned baby. "(The custodian) heard some crying, a baby crying, and he looked all around," Bishop Octavio Cisnerso told WPIX-TV. "Then he realised that the sound came from here."

Church staff called emergency responders and the baby boy was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Centre in Queens. Police are searching for the woman seen on church surveillance footage dropping off the infant, New York City Police Lieutenant Tarik Sheppard said.

The bishop praised the woman for "the care she had for the baby." The Roman Catholic pastor added, "She just did not abandon the baby on the sidewalk (or in) a garbage can. She did not treat the baby in a way that was going to be harmed." The state's Abandoned Infant Protection Act allows parents to abandon a newborn anonymously and without fear of prosecution if the child is left at a safe and suitable place. According to CNN, the baby must be left with an appropriate person or an appropriate person needs to be informed of the infant's location.

The church's secretary said that the 5-pound, 2-ounce baby boy is healthy and doing fine. "We're just happy the child is OK and it was placed in a good spot where it was found very quickly and wasn't left outside," Cerni said. Cerni said that members of the church are looking to adopt the boy into their family. "We have a young couple that's actually certified to be foster parents, and they're hoping to adopt this child," he said.

Reverend Christopher Heanue told ABC News affiliate WABC, "God has a way of working mysteriously because I believe when this woman who came in with this child, saw this creche, this empty home, this home in which we'll welcome Jesus in just a few short weeks, I believe she found in it a home for her child."